This week I had a walk along a local stretch of the Thames that I fished last season to check what effect the winter’s floods have had, writes Gerald Stratfiord

To be honest, the river looked in perfect trim, but what I did notice along the waterside was the footprint and tail mark of an otter, so I decided to come back the next day and try to spot it.

It didn’t take long, they are not very secretive if you know what to look for.

It was eating a bream of about 8lbs and I wondered if it was one of the fish I caught just before Christmas. There were several other carcases about.

I observed this action from a good 200 metres away, using binoculars.

It’s amazing what you can see on the riverbank, and that’s why we go fishing – not just to catch fish, but to enjoy the peace and solitude, while occasionally having a bit of banter with fellow anglers.

I think sometimes younger anglers out there get too preoccupied with results and miss out on what this lovely hobby is all about.

It is just a hobby, not a fanatical way of life.

Next action for me is a trip to Farmoor for a day’s trout fishing with an old friend who I haven’t fished with for 30 years. We will have a good day – even if we blank.